The more I think about the upcoming June draft and the labor uncertainty, I think that the decision to stay in school is going to become a real thought for many of the top prospects. The NCAA/NBA is not doing them any favors either with the deadline to withdraw from the draft for underclassman on May 8th..
Jared Sullinger (who would have been a top 5 pick) is already returning to school. I think other top prospects could be likely to follow. If you think about this logically - if you enter the draft and are drafted at the end of June - with the uncertainy surrounding the labor situation (and it appears everyone is preparing for a lockout that will at least run into training camp) these kids will get no organized basketball until at least the middle of the fall. They will be barred from working out with their team and barred from using their team's training facilities throughout the duration of the lockout.
Consider this - if you are drafted in June but the lockout stretches into November (considering how far apart the sides appear to be - this is very likely to happen) these guys will not be getting any paychecks nor will they be able to train at their team facilities. So without any money they will have to hire a coach, etc to stay in shape and workout on their own. Kind of a lonely existence when you consider what college has to offer.
This draft is already considered a weak draft. With Sullinger already saying that he is staying in school, I think that there is a good chance that Harrison Barnes returns to UNC for his sophmore year for a chance to win a championship (he has been said to be a good student and to love school). With Terrence Jones dropping so much in the draft over the past few months - it is not inconceivable that he chooses to return for an extra year of college as well. Tristan Thompson is rumored to be returning to Texas to play with a Canadian friend. And there are rumors that both Derrick Williams and Kawhi Leonard might both return to school as well.
It is hard to believe that the Nets could end up being that lucky - but if these guys choose to return to school - that 2011 draft pick got a whole lot weaker (now owned by Utah). And that 2012 draft just got stacked....If Golden State's pick can fall in the 8-13 range - we could add a guy who would be a top 5 pick in that draft positioning and still get great value with our own 2012 pick....
Plus the CBA may make it a whole lot easier to retain Deron Williams - so perhaps a lockout, CBA expiration could actually benefit us more than most teams.